Freeing the Wireless Internet Market

Face it. The regulated monopoly for Telecoms has to go. Within 10 years it has to end or the national economy will lose billions of dollars.

Some background. The Federal Communications Commission, created in 1934 – replacing the Federal Radio Commission of 1927,  specified spectrum as each new technical invention came along. This spectrum was for AM radio, that is for FM radio, this is for VHF tv, that is for UHF TV, this is for AMPS cell phones etc. Ever since the 1980’s as mass market digital devices have shown, all media is just wireless bits. Radio=bits, text=bits, tv=bits, voice=bits. Bits=Bits. All media is bits. In the 2000’s it is laughable that spectrum must be regulated and protected as one media function. In Being Digital (1995), Nicolas Negroponte spelled out the ecophysics of bits as the basis for the dawning era of the bitcasters.

Ever since the Times May 2007 article carried the story of Google bidding on FCC Spectrum, the Carriers, notably Verizon have been all up in a huff with sophistic arguments of how Google will stiffle innovation. But guess what folks – the evacuated spectrum at 700 MHZ is all television. So the broadcast folks should be in a huff.  What gives cellular voice companies the right to argue that only they can take broadcast televisions space?  Furthermore innovation is exactly what the carriers have halted, or as they see it – allow to flourish in the degrees of freedom within their walled garden. Ask any software maker who has tried to publish on a carrier deck.

Today in the USA, you can buy any PC, any software, any content and choose freely among competing companies. You cannot do this on telecom. You may like a certain phone, but you had better see if the carrier operates it. This is absurd. There is no competition in the market, the way there is in the PC market which allows the consumer to freely choose between Dell, SONY, Apple, etc. It is as if to watch NBC television you have to buy an NBC TV set. The antics of today’s “telecom business model” is absolutely insane and unfair. It is going to take the FCC and clearly this will lead to the Department of Justice as it did in 1982. The reasons for needed DOJ intervention are numerous. It is now clear that operators will defend their turf all the way to their breakup and the inevitable open platform deregulation to come.

Perhaps the subsidy provided to select phone makers should become a generic rebate for any device that a consumer chooses to operates on the network.

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The Morning After, iPhone

Friday132007

I am a PC. Yesterday, I happened to walk into an Apple Store, they happened to have an iPhone, I happened to buy it.  The morning after, I am still amazed, it happened so fast, I am a Mac.

When you see an incredibly beautiful thing, and you get an amazingly smooth experience, you soon realize that this new solid experience has the same simple coherrant DNA in every fiber of its design. It marries perfectly software, hardware and user interface. The richness is in the screen – 144 pixels an inch (PC’s and cell phones typically are 75 ppi). The powerful animation and video refresh subsystems make video and pictures stunning, but that touch interface – responsive, pleasurable and magical.

I brought my iPhone home, fired up my family Dell, updated software and got an account on iTunes7.3 (the slowest part of this process) then activated the phone with the at&t plan and I was making calls in ten minutes. It is amazingly simple, and fast, especially if you have suffered activation in-store. Helpful to watch their no-nonsense video at apple/iphone/activation. The iPhone is sold as a personal device, sadly. You cannot put it on an at&t business plan, though my IT department tried mightily.  It has to be a personal buy. Where to buy? I went to my home town at&t store, but the lady told me they trickle in. She went out of her way to say, politely but firmly, it would be an at&t security violation to open the Apple box in the store. I had to get out of the store to do it. Talk about bad service policy that result in making operator salespeople look like jerks.  No commissions for at&t. My advice – the Apple store is the only place to buy.

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